Taking nutritional supplements can be beneficial for some people, but it's important to understand the risks associated with them. Excessive amounts of certain vitamins and minerals can cause serious side effects, and some supplements may even increase the risk of cancer. It's important to be aware of the potential risks before taking any supplement. Vitamins and minerals are essential for good health, but consuming too much of them can be dangerous.
For instance, an excessive amount of vitamin A can lead to headaches, liver damage, reduced bone strength, and birth defects. Additionally, too much iron can cause nausea and vomiting, as well as damage to the liver and other organs. It's also worth noting that dietary supplements are not regulated in the same way as medications by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, it's important to consider the health benefits and risks before taking a dietary supplement.
Some supplements may test positive for certain drugs, which would make them regulated drugs and better studied with known risks. Gold has seen firsthand the harmful effects of bodybuilding supplements. Many of them contain creatine, an amino acid that can build muscle, but that can also damage the kidneys. He also found that many of these supplements have high levels of caffeine, which can lead to muscle breakdown, hyperactivity, and agitation.
The Institute of Medicine has determined a maximum daily intake of key nutrients that is unlikely to pose a risk of adverse health effects. It's important to note that drug companies and manufacturers of herbal supplements don't research potential drug interactions, so the risks of taking supplements with other medications are largely unknown. That's why Gold suggests that people use medications rather than over-the-counter supplements to help achieve a health goal. The only supplement he recommends is calcium, as it's good for bone health and the associated risks are quite low.
Evidence suggests that high doses of some antioxidant supplements may actually increase the risk of cancer, rather than reduce it as many people believe. Manufacturers of nutritional supplements do not have a legal obligation to include warnings about possible drug interactions in their products, but nothing prevents them from doing so if they so wish. It's essential to be aware of the potential risks before taking any supplement. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and proteins is usually enough to get the recommended amount of nutrients without needing to take additional supplements. If you do decide to take a supplement, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider about any potential interactions with other medications you're taking.